Our friends at Nanzuka have curated the exhibition Mickey Mouse Now and Future, under a license contract with The Walt Disney Company (Japan) Ltd. Based on a “fan gathering” of international artists who love and cherish Mickey Mouse, the exhibition is an art collaboration project that engages in depicting the present and future of the world’s most famous mouse.

Mickey Mouse is a presence that embodies the philosophy of “Innovation,” “Creativity,” “Imagination,” and “Storytelling” which Walt Disney has continued to value and celebrate. While Mickey Mouse has inspired people all over the world as a global ambassador of The Walt Disney Company, his name first widely came to be known in the 1928 animated talkie film Steamboat Willie, which was voiced by Walt Disney himself.

Keiichi Tanaami, whose work is featured in this exhibition, mentions as follows regarding his childhood memory of seeing this film in the years after the war. “When I was a child, I watched Walt Disney’s animation film Steamboat Willie at a small movie theater near Meguro station. Having only seen still cartoon images in comic books until then, I was amazed by the sight of Mickey Mouse jauntily moving across the screen. I soon found myself making sketches of Mickey in my notebook under the dim light of the emergency exit sign. After returning home, I colored in these sketches of Mickey, and when I put them up all around my room I was overcome by a great sense of satisfaction that simply made me want to get up and dance about.”

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"This special exhibition imagines the future of Mickey Mouse, who has become the most famous character in the world," Shinji Nanzuka noted about the show. "Why does Mickey Mouse continue to be loved by people all across the globe? His sheer presence that is not limited to his richly animate features, cute gestures, and his role as a friend who is at times mischievous but is kinder and more compassionate than anyone lese, bears a deep connection to the magic cast by his creator, Walt Disney. “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing –that it was all started by a mouse, (*)” are the famous words of Walt Disney. For the great creator who continued to believe in the importance and power of imagination and created Disneyland as "the land of dreams,” Mickey Mouse is the one and only symbol that embodies his thoughts and his dreams that live on forever." 

In addition, the Fantasia (1940), which also features Mickey Mouse as the main character, has fascinated people since its release as a true masterpiece in cinema, recognized as one of the most celebrated feature films of the twentieth century for its unprecedented fusion of magnificent classical music, brilliant colors, and mixture of dynamic and delicately refined motions.

Furthermore, in correspondence to this exhibition, large three-dimensional works of Mickey Mouse produced by Javier Calleja and Hajime Sorayama will be specially presented as public art on the premises of Shibuya Parco. The exhibition opens on November 19th to the public, which we celebrate the birthday of Mickey Mouse. We look forward to welcoming visitors to this creative and exciting venture.

The exhibition features a diverse line-up of Mickey Mouse works that have been envisioned by each of the participating artists: Javier Calleja based in Malaga, Spain, South Korean artist Yoon Hyup based in New York, London-based British artist James Jarvis, Japanese artist Tetsuya Nakamura based in Nagano, Japan, Los Angeles-based British artist Oliver Payne, Los Angeles-based American artist Darren Romanelli, New York-based Japanese artist Koichi Sato, and artists Hajime Sorayama, Keiichi Tanaami, Haroshi and Yoshirotten from Tokyo.

(* “Words of Walt Disney”, PIA Corporation, 2012)